When Louise Larkin heard the story of Logan Camilleri – a six-year-old child with spina bifida – it lit a fire in her.
No child left behind
Louise heard on the radio that nobody turned up for Logan’s party and she was determined to prevent other children from experiencing the same – and from being isolated in general.
She promptly decided to throw an annual party for kids who might feel excluded or isolated for various reasons.
Launching a social inclusion community called Friend In Me, Louise hit the ground running, throwing an amazing inaugural celebration for 350 kids in 2017.
The following year Louise and the Friend In Me team welcomed a sized-up 700 little guests for a huge and happy shindig.
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And this year? It’s looking closer to 1000! Amazing.
“After learning about how worrying it can be for parents who have a child that struggles to make friends or get invited to parties,” Louise told news.com.au. “We decided to host an all-inclusive party for families from the extended community.”
“Mums have reached out to me for their child who may be ill or who may be in hospital, and they just can’t get out of hospital for a long time … and they don’t know how to socialise. They don’t know how to make friends.”
Friend In Me aims to facilitate those friendships, build confidence and just create a joyful day out for kids who really deserve it.
Every child counts
But these events are not only for children with physical health challenges.
Kids who are lonely, left out, having trouble with friendships, living with autism, dealing with anxiety or other difficulties are welcome too. In fact … everyone’s welcome!
The party rolls out with favourite characters, fairies, fire engines, food trucks, face painting, jumping castle … the list goes on. No wonder kids are going totally nuts for these events!
🔥 🚒 🔥🚒🔥🚒🔥🚒🔥🚒🔥🚒Who doesn’t love looking through a fire truck and hearing the sirens go?? We can’t wait to have our…
“You just have to be kind”
Parents and carers have the opportunity to meet other grown-ups who are going through similar challenges, while kids can enjoy finding new buddies and letting off some steam.
Louise and her brilliant team hope that not only will their special little guests have the most awesome time at their party, but that ALL parents and carers (across the country/globe) will talk to their own children about compassion – and teach them to include others from day dot.
Our founder Louise Larkin sharing with you all exactly how Friend In Me started and why she is so passionate with her…
“Just to teach kids how to be kind in the playground, how to socially include people, build their resilience,” Louise says.
“I say it to my three-year-old daughter, ‘You don’t have to be friends with everybody. You just have to be kind’.”
For more information about this event, which is being held in Melbourne, visit Friend In Me.